A Review of Assumptions Underlying Women’s Enterprise Policy Initiatives. SOTA Review No 38
Published: 13 March 2020
In this review, we present evidence on the assumptions that underlie women’s enterprise policy. Critical policy reviews consistently question attempts to unleash women’s entrepreneurial potential by changing women themselves or making them more able to manage inequality. They suggest that enterprise policy should address gender inequality more directly and challenge the masculine norms on which enterprise policy is founded. Moreover, we present new argument that the real policy problems to which enterprise policy should respond is the poor quality of much women’s self-employment and an associated dearth of choice in terms of quality, flexible employment. We set out the policy implications for these challenges and recommendations to shape diverse enterprise ecosystems and ‘good work’ for women.
Supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation this report highlights the preliminary findings from a new survey of business adversity and resilience in 600 small businesses located in six London boroughs, three low-income and three middle-income. The study aims to identify the characteristics and strategies that foster resilience survival and growth in SMEs, and to develop practical toolkits to support under-represented entrepreneurs in their efforts to develop more resilient businesses. Four key findings emerge:
• Male and female-led businesses were equally likely to have experienced an existential threat to the survival of their business in the past five years. However, male business owners judged the potential for future threats to be less significant than their female counterparts.
• Ethnic-led businesses were significantly more likely than non-ethnic led businesses to have experienced a threat to the survival of their business. This effect was more evident for younger ethnic businesses and those located in low-income boroughs.
• Ethnic-minority business owners also judged the potential for future threats to be greater than their non-ethnic counterparts. Key issues included increased competition from new and existing sources, cost rises, problems with premises and changes in regulation or legislation.
• Psychological measures of personal resilience on average vary little between male and female business leaders and those from ethnic and non-ethnic groups. There is more significant variation within each group.
Published: 12 December 2018
Enterprise Research Centre
Warwick Business School
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
Enterprise Research Centre
Aston Business School
Birmingham B4 7ET
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